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The Transition to IoT

A survey conducted by Infor concluded 69% of manufacturers anticipate the Internet of Things will impact their business in the next three years. Andrew Kinder, VP of industry and solutions, explains the results

The transition to the age of the Internet of Things (IoT) is well underway for global manufacturers, according to the findings of a recent survey by Infor.

In fact, 10% of manufacturers claim they already have an established IoT project underway, with 22% either running a pilot or planning a project within the next 12 months. Well over one third at 38%, claim to be investigating its potential.

The research, which polled manufacturers across 12 different countries, including North America, UK, Germany, France, Italy, China and India, also reveals that IoT is the single biggest business priority for one in ten manufacturers across the world right now, with 28% putting it in their top three.

The benefits of IoT are well documented, with new revenue opportunities based on the monetisation of information billed as one of the most exciting. However, it seems that at 55% of respondents, the majority of the manufacturers polled as part of the research view cost savings from greater operational efficiencies as the greatest opportunity associated with the initiative, with a third envisaging competitive advantage through additional revenue from new services.

Specific benefits, according to the research, are likely to come through productivity, which topped the list according to 20%, followed by better insight and decision-making at 15%; greater utilisation of equipment and machinery, also at 15%; new services at 11%; and new revenue streams at 13%.

However, a lack of ownership is impeding adoption with respondents citing a total of nine different functions as the primary drivers of IoT. These span a range of roles from the executive team (31%) and IT (28%), to marketing (5%); manufacturing operations (13%) and facilities (6% ). When asked about challenges to IoT implementation, respondents pointed to a lack of skills, unclear benefits and cost as the primary culprits.

Manufacturers, challenged by the constant need to improve productivity, see the competitive advantage available to them through exploiting IoT technologies. This research confirms that over half of manufacturers recognise the potential and are either piloting projects or actively investigating use-cases.

We expect more of these pilot projects to evolve into production-ready deployments over the next 18 months – which should send a warning message to the 43% of respondents who have yet to recognise the value.

But with only 10% claiming complete readiness – there is clearly an untapped opportunity ahead for companies with the right vision. Our advice would be to look at the device data you are already collecting – most plant equipment is already instrumented – and ask what questions could you answer if only you could collect it, apply analytics and distribute the insight quickly to the right decision maker? Even better, who outside your organisation would want to purchase the information only you can provide? Then have this conversation with your technology provider – the pieces are all available to turn it into a reality.

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